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The Thompson-Ames Historical Society
writes a weekly news release.

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2-12-06   Gilford’s Historical Society Reaches Out

Wednesday evening, February 8th, Gilford’s “Tiger” Cub Scouts fulfilled a portion of their history requirements by taking a field trip to one of Gilford Village’s historic buildings, Thompson-Ames Historical Society’s Grange Museum Building.

Under the leadership of Cub Scout Leader, Mike Baron, the boys -- each accompanied by a parent -- were divided into two groups to facilitate participation in the evening’s activities.

Upon their arrival at the Grange Building, the cub scouts were greeted by T-AHS President, Joan Nelson, who challenged the youngsters to observe carefully during their time in the museum building to see what basic material is especially evident in the theme area settings.

Then half of the group went off to the 1800s Homestead Room where Kathy Lacroix acted as docent while the other half, guided by docent Stan Piper, stepped into the 1800s Historic Store.

Homestead focus points zeroed in on the fact that an entire family would have done all their in-door living in such a one-room setting and that furniture created was flexibly designed to serve one or more purposes and yet not take up any more floor space than absolutely necessary.

The youngsters observed that wood was the material used to create the bed and trundle bed, the drop-leaf tables, the settle-type bench that could be easily converted into a table, wooden chairs including a rocking chair, a cradle, blocks that children would have played with, the peel used to insert loaf-shaped dough into the bake oven and then remove the bread when it had finished baking, as well as being the fuel burned in the fireplace.

In the 1800s Historic Store the youngsters traced the process of felling trees to working with the wood yielded. As each step was discussed, the tools involved were pointed out with attention given to the characteristics of each tool, including double-beveled broad axe, two-man saws, chisel-edged broad axe, adze, froe, among others. A treadle-powered wood lathe was demonstrated and then samples of finished turning were viewed. Emphasis was given to tongue and groove construction – used to create cabinets, paneling and floor boards – and vintage tongue and groove planes were shown.

It was pointed out that children had important roles in the preparation of fire wood for fireplaces and stoves – using a buck saw and a chopping axe, stacking wood, and keeping the wood box filled.

The use of wood to make animated wooden toys of historic design balanced out “work” with some provision for “play” – a realization that appealed to all the youngsters as they took a turn with Will-of-the-Wisp, Climbing Bear, Man on the Edge, Hoe Man, etc.

At the half-time bell, the cub scouts left their first field-trip site and switched into the other museum setting so that each youngster had a total field-trip experience.

When the final bell sounded, all the cub scouts reassembled in the Grange Kitchen with the knowledge that wood was certainly a basic material for 1800 homesteads, both outdoors and indoors.

A field-trip experience such as the youngsters had that evening would go a long way towards helping them understand the history of their hometown.

* * *

A word about the parents who accompanied the youngsters on this cub-scout field trip seems in order.

The adults were visibly engaged in the evening’s experience. History was coming alive not only for youngsters but also for the adults.

Thompson-Ames Historical Society would like the readers of this news release to know that there are many opportunities for adults to become involved in preserving history and making history come alive.

One of the most rewarding experiences that adults can have is helping make possible field trips for youngsters.

Kathy Lacroix, Thompson-Ames Historical Society’s Education Coordinator, is already looking for people to sign up to serve as docents for field trips scheduled for Gilford’s Elementary School this coming May and June. If you wish to help, please call 524-3390 and leave your name, telephone number and a brief message; Mrs. Lacroix will return your call.

Thompson-Ames Historical Society is more than willing to help adults learn about the history behind the theme displays that are housed in Gilford Village’s three museum buildings, the Grange Museum Building (which is on the National Register of Historic Places as the John J. Morrill Store of 1857), the 1834 Union Meetinghouse and the c. 1838 Benjamin Rowe House – the latter two being on the New Hampshire State Register of Historic Places.

A starting-off spot probably would be to view T-AHS’s website www.gilfordhistoricalsociety.org.

Also, a tour of the three museum buildings would give an up-close view of the theme-area displays to see which historic themes are of special interest to the individual. -- To arrange such a tour, please call 527-9009 and leave your name, telephone number and a brief message; you will receive a return call as soon as possible.

Furthermore, Thompson-Ames Historical Society is willing to set up a series of programs to help interested people gain a better understanding of the history of Gilford.

Resource persons could be brought in to help explore various areas in depth.

Whatever your interest or depth of interest, we’d love to hear from you!

Sixty-two year old Thompson-Ames Historical Society is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit educational organization designed to preserve and celebrate the cultural history of Gilford, New Hampshire.